This is our crew working one of our prime Sourwood Honey yards (Lester #2). We named the yards after the owner and in this case Mr. Lester of Blairsville, GA. He rented us two of our 25 plus yards we had over the years in which we produced Wildflower and Sourwood honey in. We also shook bulk bees from these yards to keep them from late season swarming and to provide for our 1,800 mating nucs and our queen production of our Goldline Survivors.
This is the same yard, Lester #2.  We are pulling deep Sourwood supers.  Two men would load and two would pull the supers.  A good crew could get in and out of a yard in about an hour.  That is crucial before the heat of the day hits and stresses the bees.  If you time it right, you can pull the supers before the cells are sealed, take them in for overnight drying, extract the next day, and have them back on the hives still wet with honey for the bees to move into during a long flow of Sourwood.  Sourwood season can go as long as six weeks but the prime flow is usually about 2 to 4 weeks usually centered around the 4th of July but can vary a week or two, usually earlier.  Also, almost all the trees in this image are Sourwood.  Sometimes, shady locations are all we could find even though sunny ones were preferred.


These images come from one of our best Sourwood honey yards (Hunter Yard). The third one is the finished product once we came home and were processing it.  Can you believe this is just one days worth of flow for a “shook swarm”?  Shook swarming is a special technique for rapidly producing comb honey that we would do with about 3 or 4 of our yards (90 to 120 hives) each year.  We would shake 2 strong hives into one and down into a single shallow.  There would be absolutely no drawn comb anywhere for the bees to store honey.  After we removed one of the queens and caged the other and smoked the living daylights out of both hives.  After the bees sucked up plenty of honey, then the shaking process began onto a white sheet laid out in front of a hive that had both of these extra strong hives (swarm ready) that were sitting side by side just moment before.  By doing this the bees would be brought into a condition in which they thought they were a super big swarm and would be full of honey and nectar.  At the same time, the field bees would be coming back in from the field looking for home but instead finding the new one made up of only foundation.  It is simply amazing to see the results but I must admit, it is a lot of work.  At the same time, you will get some pollen in the first and second shallow supers right above the shallow brood super that has the queen excluder on it.  Some folks see that as a big fail but I simply packed the comb with pollen all together and charged an extra dollar for these jars after I labeled them “pollen comb.”  The health nuts went crazy over it and so did my check book.  These are two of the Purvis Brothers; Matt on the left and Jack on the right.  This particular hive did not have more than one super on it because we were coming back the next day to put on the other four.  When we dug into it to our surprise, this is what we found.  Some of the negatives with this technique is the higher amount of management and it is hard on the queens.  However, if you are rearing your own queens-no biggie.  At the same time, if you have bee tight equipment, this is a great time to introduce queen cells and rear your own queens.  You will be pleasantly surprised at the amount of comb honey you will produce and end up with a new queen.  Since the bees don’t have brood to take care of for a period of time, they will act as a field force and that even increases your yield even more.  Have fun with your bees and learn.  Don’t be afraid to do so!
Image of another Sourwood and Wildflower Yard (John Yard).  Notice the shook swarm hives made up of only shallow supers in addition to the normal hives that we had regular extracting supers on.  On a good year we would pull over 20 barrels of Sourwood honey.  Sourwood honey has been tied for first place as the best tasting honey in the world on numerous occasions.
Organic farming/gardening go hand in hand with good beekeeping practices.
A few images of our 7,500 square foot garden on our organic 5 acre farm in Tennessee.

IMG_1657IMG_1665Bee JournalThe cover of one of several magazine articles we were in.
In this image, I am doing what I call “delousing the bees”.  Actually it is de-miting the bulk bees before I use them to establish mating nucs with.  The process involves using powdered sugar on 10 to 20 pound package of bulk bees to knock the V-mite off of them.  The mites and sugar would fall through screen on the bottom.  The amount of bees in the bulk bee boxes depends upon the heat; more heat means I would shake less bees into the boxes.  After they calmed down overnight in a cool dark spot, I would do this operation the next morning and right before I would scoop a measured amount of them into my mating nucs.  This would give them time to calm down, clean themselves up and get in a “queenless” state.IMG_2267This is one of many grafting benches I have used over the years.  Several things to note in this picture: good cool light source (150 watt fiber optic), a steady work area, place for all the needed tools within easy reach, set-up so that you aren’t constantly looking down if you aren’t grafting for more than 10 or 15 minutes is necessary otherwise you will be worn out by the end of the day.IMG_2097Honey producing yard in Tennessee.Page 41Magazine article done by a man that came and visited our lab.  I taught Bob how to Inseminate Queens and showed him our breeding program in person.  At first, Bob was skeptical.  Afterward-he was convinced.  You can read the article yourself in January 2005 of American Bee Journal.  IMG_1783This is an image of one of the most valuable tools a modern beekeeper could own.  This is a bee funnel and is for shaking bees into a bulk bee box.  Shaking bees is a skill-set that should be learned to stay ahead of the disease curve, strengthening hives, producing your own queens, increasing your hive count and other things.  A beekeeper can get a 3 pound package from a strong hive every 3 to 4 weeks with this tool if he has the right bee and knows what they are doing.  You can then de-mite the package and introduce them into drawn comb with two queen cells to get extremely good results or use an ordered queen with the mediocre genetics that most queen producers offer today.  However, if you use a strong Survivor and producer such as a Goldline Queen or a few others and by using this technique you will be astounded.   Dann, Dr. Denis Anderson, Canberra, NSW, AustraliaLooking at the next plague on bees-T. ClaraeThis is an image of “Dr. Mite” Denis Anderson from Australia when I went to visit him in his office.  He is one of a few bee researchers I truly respect.  YES-I do respect some-you heard me say it.  Denis earned my respect.  There are a few others out there but you have turn over a lot of rocks to find em.  Most of the the good ones can’t say what they know if they know anything.  The others only teach what they have been taught and most of what they have been taught is why the bee culture got in the trouble it is in.  Unfortunately, researchers have to simply spend more time playing politics or generating income for the institutions they work for so they themselves stay employed.  For whatever reason, Denis dodged those bullets.  His office walls (I wished I had took pictures of them) were filled with hundreds of research projects that he had done.  He is the man that reclassified the Varroa mite when it was name erroneously at first.  This guy knows bees and doesn’t care if he pisses off clubs, groups, politicians or journalists.  We are lucky to have him.  We spent the biggest part of the day together talking about bees.  He came to my lab the next year and was convinced that we had developed a bee that had virus resistance bred into it by the design of our patented breeding program and what he witnessed.  He was also happy at the way I had developed AFB resistance in my line of bees by exposing them to the disease itself.  By the way, Denis is a Virologist.  Helluva guy and he did not agree with everything I said and I didn’t agree with everything he said.  In fact, I told him the bee importation that Australia was doing at the time wasn’t going to last long once the yellow journalism, governmental agents and attack dogs got their feet under them.  He did not agree with me.  Sadly, the borders were closed a shortly after our last visit.  Many folks think that Australian bees were a problem.  They were not and have never been a problem.  Biologically speaking, the quarantine program that Australia uses was one of the best in the world but the established power base had to shut down this major competitor that was causing the big producers Stateside to do things differently.  That is why they were shut down.  Also, I told Denis that the borders would not be tight enough to ensure against sabotage.  Australia had made a lot of enemies and many of the diseases that they didn’t have at the time of my visit could easily be brought in through a malicious act.  Again, this unfortunately did happen with disease that was not there for years before they started importing to the U.S. and since I don’t believe in coincidence or unicorns, I fear my prediction came true.  For awhile they were an awesome legal source of clean, healthy, worldwide survivor genetics and genetic diversity.

Because of this, the Aussie bee importation was not going to last long.  It had to be shut down.  It simply was too much competition to the big producers and governmental breeding programs.  I suspect similar issues came about with Hawaii.  Ask yourself how these two isolated areas can keep disease offshore up until they start to sell or take a big chunk of the market and then that is when disease starts to show up in their bees and when the bad press and so called “smart people” talk bad about the bees coming from these areas?  Of course some the so called smart people started talking bad about the bees before then and what is amazing about that is I know of one person finally got her bee legally approved to import through USDA and no one else could.  The very same genetics that she said were dangerous coming out of Australia that were actually coming from Europe now she had exclusive importation rights too and no one else does.  I had offered to bring in the same genetics from Austria she wanted through my Australian connections earlier but she declined.  I understand why now.  It would have been legal then as well but of course-not a monopoly.  She was and is still part of the established institutional crowd.  She had her journalist’s claim our success’s as her own and discredit us at the same time-an art form I have not totally understood nor care too.  Can I prove all this?  Some of it but not all of it and the timing is accurate and the Australian bees were not dangerous in anyway other than to the entities I just mentioned.  Who benefited the most once they Aussie bee importation was removed?  Then you get the right talking heads to say or publish the right articles in the right sources and the clubs start to parrot down line the same lies.  Before you know it, everyone thinks the problem is solved but nothing changed.  Welcome to the old way of bee culture.

Fortunately, I had brought in all the genetic material needed (legally) to establish and distribute throughout the United States to literally save the bee for a little while from these short minded ego and power driven but politically, University, and institutionally well backed bee-havers.

Needless to say, I am no longer asked to speak.  I am not usually asked to come to many club meetings, either.  This suits my wife just fine.  She got tired of seeing me pace the floor-hahaha.  I want to get this out to someone before I die.  It is history and needs to be told.  Even though it might come off as petty I think it is really good stuff.  The good news is-my boys (the Brothers), my wife, and a few of my friends were successful.  Some beekeepers know we were and the good Lord above knows what happened.  We took on some big people and institutions.  I actually was told by a spokesperson from a major company in September of 2013 to keep my mouth shut (in polite terms) because we had beat them at their own game.  Even though they had patented just about everything under the sun and caused grief for many farmers they were not able to patent the honeybee.  I believe that is because of our ability to effectively disperse the gene pool wide enough so that it would not be worth the effort.  I know they at one time were interested.  A major investment consortium we were in negotiation with finally exposed themselves as wanting to buy my patent work and sell them to this company that at that time was defunct (patent).  I now have strong suspicion that this lawyer was in fact representing this company at the time.  This surprised me that they did not know the state of the patent but my negotiator was a pretty good salesman and once we realized who we were dealing with, immediately ended our talks that had been going on for months.  That was in the fall of 2009.

Throughout the years, we got our nose bloodied but we are still standing and guess what.  The wild bees are coming back.  I truly think we had a hand in that.  If not directly, then indirectly by the way people look at bees.  I hear quotes that I know I started way back when, even the ones I knew at the time were seed quotes to seek out friends from enemies.  We accomplished something unbelievable.  It stings less as time passes.  It helps even more when I talk to a new beekeeper and they tell me how to make a “blind walk away split”, about a “Goldline Survivor bee”, a balanced host parasite relationship, “breeding better mites”, or producing their own queens without grafting.  Maybe it’s all my imagination.  As I get older and look back, I can smile and say we did something good. PoliticiansThis is a picture of when I was asked to come to D.C. to talk to some Senators about the bee problem that wasn’t named yet.  After this presentation, it was eventually called CCD short for colony collapse disorder.  I wrote a short piece in American Bee Journal in which I named it something else-SSDD short for “same shxx different day.”  Now that the dust has settled and the millions of dollars wasted, what I advised over 10 years ago has proved to be true.  The problem is nothing more than a mix of crap still occurring and plaguing the beekeeper and the same morons still spouting the same worn out answers to garner dollars and waste time and hope.  Fortunately, we were able to distribute enough genetics throughout North America over the course of 10 years and keep certain parties from limiting us and others from doing so that I think the honeybee will be safe for at least the near future, maybe forever.  Now that the African has a solid foothold, it may be even safer.  That’s right, I said African!

I had talked to every politician from dog-catcher all the way up to President’s men.  Some were genuine and some were not.  I said then the same thing that I say now.  The bottom line:  The honeybee has three major issues to deal with.  1) Lack of genetic diversity in the bee population.  2) Poison in their environment (inside and outside the hive).  3) Unbalanced host/parasite relationship due to the idiocy of practices done still today and being taught in academia, publication, clubs and other uneducated individuals that simply don’t understand the dynamics of this fragile indicator species-the honeybee.  Under these three main issues are several other sub-critical issues that contribute, i.e., poor management practices, unintentional dangerous mite genetics development, etc. DSCN0086Georgia Agriculture CommisionerThis is an image in which I am teaching the longest serving Agriculture Commissioner,  Tommy Irvin, GA, of any State in the United States how to dissect a honeybee and inspect for Tracheal mites in our lab.  He had never even looked at a honeybee under a microscope before this and yet his department has been responsible for millions of dollars of bee inspections each year.  The other man in the first image is Bob Short.  He was responsible for getting Jimmy Carter elected and Zell Miller and was an officer in a second company we started to try and save the bee.  I believed our efforts were in the long run, successful even though the money ended up in a University system and ironically under the control of the man that was telling me for years we could never do what we ended up doing and proving.  It worked out in the long run-he ended up with the golden hand cuffs and we fixed the problem.

The man to the right in the last image is Dr. John Roberts and also an officer of our company and responsible for all the patent work on our Goldline honeybee.  He had patented several varieties of wheat when he was employed with the USDA.  John is a good man and extremely smart.  Without him we could not have done our patent work.  He also knows a lot about magnets and how they increase and decrease bee metabolism that would blow your mind.  DSC04186DSC00055DSC04187Purvis Bees tour of the Queen cell finisher hivesDSC04190DSC04207The last several images were of my boys and I teaching at several institutes to include the EAS or Eastern Apiculture Society of which I ain’t too popular with anymore hahaha. IMG_1035Here we have a nice apiary (bee yard) located in Tennessee.  The yard was located on Amish land and the fence was built by the Amish to keep the cattle out.  I had to put up a wind break in the Winter when the corn was harvested.


This is not a real good image but maybe you can get the idea of what a contaminated queen cell looks like. This is black cell and is highly infectious. After handling this kind of cell, you should clean your hands and equipment with alcohol or bleach. Chilled or heat damage can take on the same look after a few days as well but this is black cell-I had it tested. Some folks might think they will never have this kind of thing come up but if they do enough cells they will. It is also, regional due to certain environmental factors. I have noticed that higher heat and humidity will bring on certain conditions that are not usually occurring in less heat and humidity. This is one example, Small hive beetle is another. I now live in Colorado Springs and have not seen one Small Hive Beetle to date. If you would have told me that was possible when we were set up in Georgia and Tennessee, I would have laughed. But it is the truth, at least here in the Springs. The conditions here are high mountain desert. Very low humidity and the temperature is much lower year round. We still have mite problems but I think a lot of the issues with mites are like everywhere else-no balanced host/parasite relationship and piss poor resistance and genetic diversity in the bees. Hahaha but that’s good. I got a few ideas on how to fix that. Fortunately, I have found that there is a VERY STRONG feral population of survivors. Some of these bees are in the mountains. I actually found some bees at 11,000 feet. That is only 1,000 feet from the tree line. Truly unbelievable.DSC04210Purvis Bee lab in Blairsville, Georgia.  Where the Goldline bee originated from.
DSC00020-1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8The early days.DSC04209Artificial Insemination Station set-up.
DSC04214Preparing to inseminate a virgin Goldline queen.DSC04212Semen collection from Goldline drones and then mixing the semen.
DSC00006-1-2-3-4-5Jack at the A.I. station.
DSCN2834Dann at New South Wales teaching Terry Brown how to do Inseminations and setting him up to do so.DSC00017-1-2-3-4Grafting larva and egg.
DSC00021-1-2-3-4-5-6Jack grafting.
DSC00026-1Alex grafting.
IMG_0289Even though this is a close-up, you can still see how large this girl is.IMG_1814Various funnels for shaking bulk bees.IMG_2974 - Version 2cropped-IMG_2975-Version-2.jpgOur large incubator for cell storage.  We could store over 2,000 cells if we needed to but we usually just used this for over night or at most 2 days.

Close up of a grafter doing his job.  He is using a Chinese grafting needle and notice the eggs are just start to hatch or lay down with plenty of royal jelly to scoop up.
IMG_2487This is a small box of cells that we were readying for shipment.DSC00017-1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12-13-14-15-16-17-18-19-20-21An old image of the early days when I used to pull pollen using the best pollen collectors on the market, the Sundance put together by an old friend Lloyd Spear.  Don’t waste time on the others if you want to collect pollen, this is the way to go.  On good days we could collect over 8 oz. and have collected up to 16 oz.